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Monday, March 19, 2012


Theme for this Spring training:

"Wez phucked!"

We're all going to feel real silly when future Rookie of the Year Freddy Galvis gives us a breakout performance of 25 HR, 95 RBI, .297 AVG/.398 OBP/.854 OPS at 2B this year.

Dare they consider both 2nd and 3rd basemen in a trade, giving them more options for players with power? Or is trusting Polanco himself to stay healthy and cover second another bad idea?

Does Kendrick now have more value than Blanton, given his spring performance and affordability? Is Worley someone you also make available for the right infield bat? I am sure the FO has been playing out these scenarios, but this could have a big ripple effect on the roster, if not immediately, then perhaps come trade deadline...

I really am OK, you know.

NEPP - I know Mini-Mart shouldn't be on the roster. I'm just saying that the love affair with Valdez is weird at best. Yes he was a good bench player, but he is replaceable.

I can see the Valdez move as a "mistake", but if Utley is out awhile, Valdez is not the answer. Neither is Mini Mart, and likely Galvis, but the FO has to aim higher here.

I would've targeted Jed Lowrie as soon as the offseason started. Big mistake.

Wilson Valdez has a career OPS+ of 67.

If he were still on the roster right now, the same sentiment would and should exist, which is that the Phillies really need to trade for some infield help.

I disagree JW. Losing Howard is possibly a survivable injury. Losing Utley for most of the year, the entire year, or, gulp, forever, will be a major dent on this franchise. His defense, baserunning, and ability to get on base, alone, made him one of the most valuable players in baseball over the last 6 years, not to mention that when he's swinging the bat well, his ability to hit for power (great power for a 2nd baseman) as well as hit for a decent average. If his career is coming to an end, which looks as though might be the case, it's a sad day in Philadelphia sports.

"Dare they consider both 2nd and 3rd basemen in a trade, giving them more options for players with power?"

Sure, but who's available?
"Or is trusting Polanco himself to stay healthy and cover second another bad idea?"

Not a bad idea. If he can be "trusted" at 3B he can be trusted at 2b, no?
"Does Kendrick now have more value than Blanton, given his spring performance and affordability?"

"Is Worley someone you also make available for the right infield bat?"

No, you'll never get equal value back for him. His biggest value over both Blanton and KK is that he's cost controlled for a couple more seasons, and with the contracts they have on this team that very important.

PhillyRhetoric - I like the idea of looking at an "either/or" scenario between 2B/3B and playing Polly and or Galvis if/when Polly is injured during the year at 2B to provide more options.

The issue really is however, there isn't a whole lot out there at 3B either. Hindsight being 20/20 of course, making a play for Aramis Ramirez probably would have been the right move here.

But as of right now, there really isn't much out there - and it's going to cost some serious prospects (not that we have many left to begin with in the High Minors) to get an impact bat that would provide any WAR.

I think they will end up playing the hand they have, mixing and matching until they know for sure Utley is going to play or not going to play this year. 45-50 games in or so.

While frustrating, that might be the right move as getting a 3B/2B in July is going to be a lot easier than trying to get one in April as teams fall out of the races.

We might have to scratch tooth and nail to stay in the race until Howard gets back, Utley or a replacement arrives and grab one of the two wildcards ....

Once we get in the playoffs with our pitching, we're still very dangerous - but I think this being a 95 win team is HIGHLY doubtful based on what we're looking at right now.

It's really a shame as this is an historic pitching staff we've assembled that arrived about 2 years after an historic offense took the field.

If we had married those two together starting in 2007, we would have had a couple of parades by now .... just a shame.

This is depressing.

I've been accused for the last few months of being overly negative for saying that the end was coming for this team by next year.

Now it looks like everyone is jumping on board, even saying this season is the end of the line. How fickle is man.

The date we will look back as when the fans started to turn on Rube. My friend on Sat night thinks Rube is the second coming of Omar Minaya. A GM who spends a ton of by signing some big name FA and extending some of hisbiwn players with huge deals. Gives up a bunch of young talent to makea trades for veterans including for the best pitcher but in the end isn't able to surround them with enough depth and talent overall to survive some injuries.

It isn't a great comparison but I could see where he is coming from. Hope it doesn't play out like that.

It's a little different when there are "doubts" that a player "should be ready" or "might not be ready", and "the guy might not be able to play again ever".

But, pat yourself on your back anyway. I'm sure it'll hurt b/c it must be sore already.

Jack, people questioned your reasoning for predicting the end.

It's nice to know that with your clairvoyant powers you were able to forsee the injuries to both Utley and Howard.

Sigh. Life lessons for my 8 year old.

REEEEAAALLLLY wish they would have signed Beltre instead of Polanco...

David Wright isn't the player he used to be, but he'd solve some problems for the Phillies. Too bad you can't buy star players for straight cash anymore. Not that the Mets are chomping at the bit to send him to us.

I think his "friend" is "MG" himself.

What is 1 year of Cole Hamels worth to a contending team?

JBird, I want no part of David Wright. Overrated, and no longer a difference maker, IMHO.

Besides, the Mets would never trade him to their biggest division rival to bail that rival out.

BB - Nah my old boss I met for a drink.

Even with this news (as much of a bummer as it is), it doesn't change the fact the Phils have a ton of quality starting pitching and still should have enough offense to field a team that makes the postseason especially with the 2nd WC this year.

Just going to be really hard going to into the year to know how the Phils are going to do because you don't know what they will get out of Howard or Utley.

awh: Yeah, it was real tough to see serious injuries for Utley coming. You know, other than the fact that he missed the first two months of last season with a knee condition that can't be cured and is known to have a serious hip condition as well. Other than that, he's a regular spring chicken.

And as for Howard, signing a declining player long into their 30's for big money is generally a terrible idea. Injuries are but one reason why.

Wait, people are saying they wouldn't want David Wright right now?

You realize that we're on the verge of starting the season with Mini-Mart and Freddy Galvis on the roster and playing regularly?

Something about beggars and choosers comes to mind here.

Yes jack you are the man. Go bang your drum
Somewhere else

I agree with awh on Wright. He's owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 mil the next two seasons and will cost a king's ransom. Plus he is another continually hurt player and not exactly a younging either. No thanks.

How many "if" and "assuming" clauses will be allowed on "clout Day"?

Right, with a possibility of losing Utley long term(forever?), the Phils should overpay, with prospects and $, for David Wright.

Wright's been hurt again this spring besides the other issues he has had the past few years.

Amaro is going to take some heat for this if Utley misses a lot of time to start the season and he should. This isn't last spring where he didn't know how badly Utley was hurt & when he would be back. If cash was really that tight too, I still don't understand the Qualls signings and a few other signings this offseason (e.g., Willis, Nix).

Now wait just a damned minute.

There is a big jump from "Utley's seeing a specialist and might not be ready to start the season" to "Utley's DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED! We have to GET RID OF HIM! He'll NEVER TAKE THE FIELD AGAIN!" While I don't think we should ever take the Front Office's statements at face value, I don't see why we couldn't at least hope that this specialist might help Utley keep "making strides." I wouldn't interpet that as "We're euthanizing Utley" just yet.

I do agree that this team should have pursued an infield upgrade--although, to Rube's credit, he did go after Cuddyer hard earlier this season, who would definitely be nice to have right now. I seem to recall most people on Beerleaguer thought that bringing in an infield/outfield guy like Cuddy was idiotic when our pressing need was to keep Rollins. With Galvis looking good (though I'm not sure it's sustainable) perhaps it would have been better to sign Cuddyer and take the risk that Rollins went elsewhere. I think Rube was told by Montgomery to back off of Cuddyer lest there not be enough cash left in the till for Rollins; Rube then chose to pretend that Wiggy was almost as good as Cuddyer (not by a long shot) and give up the first idea.

A-Ram or Josh Willingham (the latter of whom signed for far less than I would have thought) would have been nice acquisitions as well; had we brought in an outfield bat to make up for the loss of infield offense, we could possibly have played Galvis at second till Utley's return.

Any move for infield help will almost certainly mean trading Dom Brown, which won't make our friend Jack very happy but which I'm OK with given we get a good return. A commenter at MLB Trade Rumors awhile back suggested we trade Brown for the Mariners' super-3B prospect Kyle Seager; Seager projects to be good and can also play 3B and SS, but has had little MLB experience. Lowrie would be better, of course, but someone like Seager or a journeyman like Callaspo are probably all Brown could fetch right now--the Mariners and the Angels, as AL teams, could presumably afford overlook Brown's defensive awfulness.

With Vic and Pence both looking sharp and Polanco (fingers crossed) showing signs of life, I don't think our offense is DOA just yet, but we will need Mayberry to be second-half Mayberry (signs haven't been encouraging so far this year) and will need Wigginton to have a comeback year (again, seems a rather remote prospect) for our offense to be really formidable. However, while I definitely favor bringing in more infield help (trade whoever it takes, except Worley--I don't want to see both Blanton and KK in the rotation), I also won't bury Utley just yet.

Yeah awh, I specifically came out two months ago and said that David Wright isn't a great fit for this team, but I was assuming that Utley would play most of the year, as would Polly. If Utley, Howard and Polly are all going to miss serious time this year (and that appears to be the case), then we do A LOT worse than David Wright.

You really have to start questioning a person's motivation for posting on a message board when he basks in the glow of horrible news for the team.

Freddy Galvis, welcome to the Show. All you have to do now is replace the best second baseman in franchise history and one of the best at the position in the last 50 years.

So, you know. Other than that, no big deal.

Amaro making a desperation trade right now doesn't make much sense either for a stop-gap solution. GMs know they can demand a king's ransom and hard to believe the Phils will be able to shake loose a starting-caliber 2B who plays at least decent defense with an OPS above .700.

Either Amaro can pick up a glove, no-hit player (he already has two of those and traded away another) or pick up a player who might give him a bit more offense but be a defensive liability at 2B.

With this news though, I do wonder if we start to see Wigginton get some time at 2B this week. He hasn't all spring.

All the Phillies need to do is hover near the top of the division until the trade deadline. Howard and Utley will be publicized as the "trade deadline pickups".

Jack's doing the "running man" at his desk right now.

Iceman: You really have to start questioning a person's motivation for posting on a message board, generally, don't you?

You know, being that it's an anonymous internet message board and has no connection to people's real lives and all that.

We get it MG, you don't like Ruben.

I have every confidence that r00b will take swift & bold action to overcome the loss of Utley

by signing another washed up pitcher.

RK was right all along. We should have traded Utley for someone who will be as good as Utler 3 years from now.

Don't hate Rube nor do I think he has done a poor job here as the GM.

I do think he is going to take a fair amount of criticism over Utley and the starting 2B.

The one thing I wasn't a fan of this offseason was signing Papelbon to his deal and continuing to box himself in financially going ahead.

It's a good thing that Utley's injury couldn't possibly be considered to be age related.


With the SP and bullpen, its good enough to win the division.

We should look at some of the overflow from the Angels roster

I wrote a long post which somehow disappeared into cyberspace after I hit "post." But the gist of it was: if Polanco is out too, then your lineup against LHP right now is Wigginton at 3rd, Mayberry at 1st, Galvis/Mini-Mart at 2nd and, since Nix can't hit LHP at all, Podsednik, a LH hitter who doesn't hit LHP very well either, in LF.

RAJ has been rightly criticized for not seeking a better utility infielder. But if the cure for our infield woes is to move 2 outfielders (Wiggington & Mayberry) to the infield, it seems to me that better OF depth would have been something to look at too. The Phillies always obsess over having enough LH hitters on the bench but, right now, you'd have to say that a RH outfielder who can actually hit would have been a better fit for this bench than a slap-hitting left-hander like Podsednik or Pierre.

With Chad Qualls in the Bullpen, infield depth becomes a non-issue.

I have never heard Kyle Seager refereed to as a "super-prospect". If the Phillies traded Brown for Seager I would grab my pitchfork and torch (both of which I keep by the door) and head down to the 'zen. Guys I'd consider available-ish for the right price would be Inge, Mark Reynolds, Collaspo and Headley. But that's just spitballin'. Really depends on how long the team thinks Utley will be out. It can't be a good sign that he's this bad after an entire offseason to recover.

AT: You realize, of course, that Cuddyer can't play second base, right? He would be beyond awful there.

Iceman: You may be on to something. I've always thought that Jack was a secret Braves fan.

If anyone wants to guess what a season of starting Freddy Galvis at 2B would be like offensively, please see Reid Brignac's 2011 season with Tampa Bay.

With the lack of power on this club, I think it might make more sense to try and trade for a 3B and shift Polly over to 2nd. With Galvis as the main backup (spelling both Rollins and Polly) at SS and 2B. Or plug Wigginton in at 2B (which people say is his best position).

Could this be the opening day lineup?

LF Podsednik
3B Polanco
SS Rollins
RF Pence
CF Victorino
1B Mayberry
2B Wigginton
C Ruiz
P Halladay

Having both Nix and Thome on the roster seems redundant. Really only need one. In my scenario, Wigginton plays everyday at 2B. Which means we are definitly short a RH bat, when Mayberry starts in LF against a LHP.

I'd say with today's Utley news that the chances Joe Blanton starts the season on the roster look much bleaker. He almost has to go now. Just like last year, he is a luxury. He should have gone last year. He'll go this year. Kendrick will be the 5th starter.

b_a_p: Excellent point.

NEPP: Thank you for choking a laugh out of me on this otherwise dismal day.

denny b: What would getting rid of Blanton accomplish?

First, not much salary relief. The Phils wil likely have to pay at least half of Blanton's salary, meaning the savings would be about $4M, not insignificant, but not a ton, either.

Second, you aren't getting any impact players or prospects back, for a guy who hasn't been healthy or effective largely for two seasons.

So, again. What's the point in getting rid of Blanton?

On a somewhat related note to the topic of Utley, there is not just the matter of replacing offense, but defense as well.

I read the piece yesterday about Charlie Manuel's concerns and learned that the Phillies have made 14 errors in 18 games. !!!

I realize we've been trying out a lot of people, but we need to make sure whoever does take the field for us come regular season can back up our pitching staff.

***In my scenario, Wigginton plays everyday at 2B.***

See clout's comment about Cuddyer playing 2B...its much the same as Wigginton trying that.

If anyone wants to guess what a season of starting Freddy Galvis at 2B would be like offensively, please see Reid Brignac's 2011 season with Tampa Bay.

Posted by: clout | Monday, March 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Did anyone else just feel that cold draft come through the room, sending shivers down your spine?

Reynolds is a really interesting candidate for several reasons. O's are in bottom-feeding mode, Duquette ALWAYS loves to make a trade especially if he can get some younger prospects, he's only making $7.5M this year & is a free agent next year, and if the Phils deem Reynold too crummy to play 3B on a regular basis defensively he can play 1B.

Phils could live with a crummy fielder at 1B who hits .220-.230 if he hits 35-40 HRs which Reynolds would definitely do at CBP with his pull-crazy tendencies. He would put at least 15-20 balls into the LF stands at CBP over the course of a full season.

If anything, this confirms that anytime Rube says something, just assume that the exact opposite is true.

Honestly, if Rube gave a press conference announcing that he doesn't believe theories about the 2012 apocalypse, I'd start gathering canned food and building a bomb shelter.

Per a Salisbury tweet, Galvis will be our opening day 2Bman. At least he can play defense, which is important.

And it sounds like Ruben may have given up on offensive production. Per another Salisbury tweet - and I quote:

Ruben on offense. 'We are going to have to pitch and catch the ball"

"Galvis will be our opening day 2Bman"

Now we now why Galvis was suddenly shifted to 2B and getting a ton of time there the past week.

How's Galvis supposed to win Rookie of the Year if we trade for a second baseman? Come on now!

If anyone wants to guess what a season of starting Freddy Galvis at 2B would be like offensively, please see Reid Brignac's 2011 season with Tampa Bay.

Who needs to look at Tampa when we all watched Martinez put up Brignac's numbers for the Phillies last year? Hell, I'm not even convinced they're different people.

Is anyone really surprised at the news on utley. We all knew it. It's really a shame though.

I have to say it, I think the offense is in big trouble. I don't know how RAJ is gonna fix it, but I know it needs fixing.

Also Joel Pinero released. No surprise there.

2012 World Series is now locked up. Its only a question of how many game-winning HRs Galvis will hit in the playoffs.

MG, I made the same suggestion regarding Reynolds a few threads back; the Orioles are supposedly looking for a starting pitcher with MLB experience and have been apparently scouting Blanton, so I could see a straight-up swap there--particularly since they make almost the same amount of money. I'd put Reynolds at first all season, and since he'd be gone next year, we wouldn't be worrying about moving him to third as we would have if we'd signed Cuddyer or A-Ram longer term.

I just hope we end up more like the 2010 San Francisco Giants than the 2011 Giants.

Pettibone & Jiwan James for Reynolds if the O's eat a good portion of the money? I'd take that if I were the O's. Reynolds is not going to be there when that team is ready to compete again (When Machado & Bundy are ready). The O's would be stupid to trade for Blanton. . . . which means they might actually do it.

Is Chase Utley this generation's Ralph Kiner?

A player who was one of the very best in MLB, and had injures derail his career in his early '30s.

Galvis's PECOTA prediction:

250 PA: .231 AVG/.257 OBP/.313 SLG./.570 OPS

I'd guess that the above prediction is pretty close to what we'll end up with from him.

And to follow up on my 11:21 post by naming names, I'll throw out 2 reasonably priced RH outfielders who were available in free agency & who kill LH pitching: Cody Ross (signed for 1 year, $3M), and Reed Johnson (signed for 1 year, $1.15M). Among those still out there, you've also got a pretty good hitter named Vlad Guerrero. His defense is terrible but, if you're among the posters who think Dom Brown should be given a starting OF job, you don't have standing to raise that argument.

NEPP: You can bump up the OBP some since he will be hitting 8th.

I think .225/.270/.310 is about right.

That's really, really bad.

All that said, I doubt Galvis is the starting 2B for very long.

Phils released Piniero. No biggie but I have no idea why they kept Bush and released Piniero. Bush looked terrible this spring.

BAP: I was going to bring up Brown himself, but then I saw that you were insisting on a righty instead of a lefty.

At this point, though, you sort of have to take offense any place you can get it, don't you?

Season = over

"What would getting rid of Blanton accomplish?"

You could potentially get something back for him? Something (like a infielder) that is sorely needed without Utley and with Polly likely to miss a lot of time (again).

Blanton is a proven commodity major league starter, who has thrown the ball this year in camp. He'd have to have some value.

Also with Rube's ominious tones, I wonder now if there will be a strong push to get Brown into the lineup sooner rather then later. Roll the dice with him and hope his hitting talent finally comes out. Platoon him with RFD in LF when Howard gets back. Of course, Rube also wants his team to play defense and we all know Dom doesn't do that. So maybe we won't see him soon afterall.

denny b: I think the issue is that you think the Phils can get something good back for Blanton, and I don't.

I was just about to post something similar to what Jack did: if you all liked the 2010 Giants team (and many on here did), with Galvis at 2B, you're gonna love the 2012 Phillies.

MG - Pineiro has an opt out. I don't believe Bush does.

Duquette isn't trading for Blanton. He spent this offseason pursuing his 'trash for gold' strategy he often does at a position and signed a TON of potential starters along with making a few trades.

dennyb: I hope you are right. Platooning Laynce Nix over Brown is lunacy at this point.

Iceman: The 2010 Giants scored 697 runs.

My prediction is that the 2012 Phillies will score less than that.

Career = Over

A sad sack Monday, for sure.

This really makes me wonder.

FO (and everyone else) knew Utley had a serious, chronic knee problem. And they knew that his (reasonably healthy) presence in the lineup is a huge issue, both from a pure financial point of view, and from a standpoint of simply winning games.

After last season, did he just disappear to do his own rehab/exercise program and show up for ST, or was the team in close touch with him, monitoring how he was doing?

If they didn't know there was a problem coming into ST, at least to an extent, it seems incredibly uninformed and negligent. If they did know, it really makes one question the Valdez trade and not otherwise addressing the problem in the off season.

Seems almost like we could be headed for a repeat of last year with Chase - or worse. Last year, it caught everyone off guard. This year? With millions of dollars and a pennant at stake, the history of the injury, and access to some of the best medical diagnostic and treatment options in the world, the whole handling of this seems pretty wretched.

"Is Chase Utley this generation's Ralph Kiner?

A player who was one of the very best in MLB, and had injures derail his career in his early '30s."

Unless there's a miracle, looks to me like it's headed this way.

"At this point, though, you sort of have to take offense any place you can get it, don't you?"

I agree in theory. But, when you get down to the practical application, you run into some difficulties. Nix, for all his flaws, had a .781 OPS against RHP last year. Do you really think Dom would do better than that in 2012? If not, and if you're interested in running out the best hitting lineup possible, then you're down to a bizarre platoon in which Dom plays against LHP. That would be about the most egregious example in baseball history of setting a young player up for failure.

It's barely possible the Orioles would take on Kentucky Joe if we threw in a couple of prospects (James and Pettibone, mentioned above, would be the right kind of deal-sweetener). However, I think Brown is still more realistic trade bait.

To clout, regarding Cuddyer: Cuddy may be below average in the infield, but I find it hard to believe he'd be worse than Wiggy. Besides, he could have been put in left field or at first base without causing much defensive damage; having a productive bat like his would have compensated for playing someone like Galvis at second.

BTW, to those who were bewailing the Pence trade last year: can you imagine entering this season with a Francisco/Brown platoon in right, Vic in center, and a Mayberry/Nix platoon in left, with Polly, J-Roll, Galvis, and Wiggy as the regular infield? Rube would be hung, drawn, and quartered by now.

AT - Those who complained about the Pence trade weren't bemoaning the player but the price. Pence didn't provide the team with the boost into the postseason or beyond the first round like he was supposed to. Instead the Phils could've waited until the offseason and possibly gotten him for less than what they paid for in July. That was the argument. Not the player and his attributes, but the price for said player.

The only part of the Pence trade that annoyed me was how cheaply Atlanta swooped in and picked up Bourn after we paid a heavy premium for Pence. Absolute steal. I like Pence otherwise.

Now I know how those really powerful awesome aging teams turn to dogsh8t in a matter of months.

Terrible news, not completely unexpected, though. No great, or even good options out there for replacement. Galvis is probably the best one for now. I think the blame being heaped on Rube and the FO is appropriate, to an extent. How could you not see the risk in the Utley situation going this way? Very short sighted, or neglegent, or both... Ugh.

FTA: But the issue is in both knees, not just his right knee.

Oh, and here we were worried. Its not his right knee that is hurt...its BOTH knees.

RedBurb: Trading Pence was an obvious imperative for the Astros; he would have gone to someone else (The Reds? The Braves? The Giants?) before the end of the 2011 season, book it. I myself wanted to acquire Pence (or someone similar) back in the 2010-2011 offseason; I didn't have faith in Brown/Francisco/Mayberry/Gload holding down right field between them. He would have come decidedly cheaper then.

Trading Pence wasn't imperative for the Astros. They got a great offer for him and took it. It helped that he would've been under contract for 2.5 years as opposed to 2 during the offseason.

And Pence would've been just as expensive if not more expensive in the timeframe you wanted to get him due to how many years he was still under contract.

Out of curiosity, what are we to take away from the fact that the statement was, indeed, so "terse?"

Are they frustrated with Utley in general, or just our b8tching and moaning about their less than transparent handling of Utley?

Either way, they seriously need to consider some sort of viable contingency plan whether they want to or not.

As is, this pitching staff can put together another 3 Cy Young contenders and they'll struggle to win the O/U of 93 games without any offense.

With the bad news surrounding the offense, the Phils should go out and get the best rotation in baseball.

The Philadelphia Phillies have just scheduled a 3PM press conference where they are expected to announce 1) the retirement of Chase Utley and 2) the signing of free agent Peyton Manning to play second base.

@Get Utley A Cortisone Shot:

"We should look at some of the overflow from the Angels roster."

Yes, Trumbo please. What would it take to get him other than a ton?

"As is, this pitching staff can put together another 3 Cy Young contenders and they'll struggle to win the O/U of 93 games without any offense."

I disagree with that notion, but even so, 93 wins wraps up a division title over a bunch of 'potentially kinda-good' teams.

It bears repeating:

season = over

Looks like the Phillies and the Union will be trading tips on how to maximize the suck this year.

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